Current Affairs Today: Daily GK Update-29 October 2017

French Minister for Armed Forces Visit to Western Naval Command

A thirteen member delegation headed by H.E. Mrs Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces visited Mumbai. During the visit, H.E. Mrs Florence Parly interacted with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. Aspects related to maritime security cooperation, bilateral exercises, ship visits, training, equipment, technology and professional exchanges were discussed.

Relations between France and India are being accorded priority by both sides as seen by the recent high-level interaction between the two countries. Defence cooperation has also witnessed increased emphasis by both sides.

Interaction between the Indian Navy and the French Navy has, over the years, nurtured into a strong partnership based on mutual interests. Naval cooperation had progressed most encouragingly in recent years and the increasing scale of operational interaction is indicative of a growing understanding between the two navies.


All High Courts will go digital by year end: Justice Lokur

Chairperson of the Supreme Court e-Committee Justice Madan B Lokur said that all the high courts in the country will go digital by the year end under the National Judicial Data Grid.

Four high courts were already completely live with all the information available online and by the year end, all the high courts in the country would be under the data grid, he said inaugurating the Digitization Centre of the Madras High Court. He said that the next step will be to implement e-filing and noted even the stamp fee can be purchased online.

Justice Lokur said that e-Committee has also decided to introduce mobile technology by next week and plans to get effective mobile applications. He said that lawyers, litigants and judges will be able to know the status of the cases through these mobile applications.


Raksha Mantri interacts with industry representatives for energising Make in India in defence sector

Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman interacted with CII representatives consisting of Indian companies and foreign OEMS at a round table on Energising ‘Make in Indiain defence sector.

The present government has taken a series of significant policy initiatives, including promulgation of DPP 2016 which gives highest priority to indigenous design and  manufacture of defence equipment, introduction of Strategic Partnership model, liberalization of FDI norms and providing a level-playing to private industry.

In the round table, a wide range of issues relating to private participation in defence manufacturing, including matters relating to licensing, taxes and duties, speeding up of procurement processes, streamlining of the offsets regime and creation of a tiered defence industrial ecosystem with full integration and skilling of manpower in the MSME sector were discussed.

The present government is fully committed to removing all the stumbling blocks and facilitating private participation in defence manufacturing with the objective of bringing high value foreign investment into the defence sector, building indigenous capabilities, fostering absorption and assimilation of technologies, and ensuring self-reliance in meeting the country’s defence needs by providing a level playing field.

Raksha Mantri issued directions to the team of officers headed by the Defence Secretary for time bound action on key issues raised at the round table, including the resolution of licensing with the Ministry of Home Affairs, tax related matters with the Ministry of Finance, commercialization of technologies developed by DRDO and timely conclusion of procurement proposals.


Ministry of External Affairs launches “#AsktheSpokesperson” for better awareness and understanding of foreign policy

The Ministry of External Affairs has launched a new initiative titled “#AsktheSpokesperson” on Twitter with an objective to bring better awareness and understanding of foreign policy issues to general public.

The inaugural session of #AsktheSpokesperson initiative was held on October 27, 2017 on the Ministry’s official Twitter handle @MEAIndia. Out of numerous queries received, the Spokesperson responded to selected question, live through periscope.

Under this initiative, the Ministry uses the social media platforms for inviting questions from public on India’s foreign policy and the selected questions are responded to by the Official Spokesperson live on social media.

This initiative is a part of Ministry’s policy to pro-actively use social media and digital technology to engage constantly with a general public on issues related with the activities of the Ministry. #AsktheSpokesperson initiative will be a regular feature to engage and educate the public about foreign policy matters in simplified terms. It will be held every two months.

The Ministry has also launched its LinkedIn profile with the objective to expand its engagements in the social space focussing on professionals and building network and to take digital activations to an altogether different set of audience.


Karnataka signs MoU with Microsoft for technology oriented solutions to farmers

The Karnataka Government has announced signing of a MoU with Microsoft Corporation India Private Limited with an intention to empower small holder farmers with technology-oriented solutions that will help them increase income. The solutions would use “ground-breaking”, cloud based technologies, machine learning and advanced analytics.

The Memorandum of Understanding will experiment with Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission and Department of Agriculture to help improve price forecasting practices to benefit farmers.

Microsoft, with guidance from KAPC, is attempting to develop a multi-variant agricultural commodity price forecasting model considering the following datasets – historical sowing area, production, yield, weather datasets and other related datasets, as relevant. For this season, Tur crop has been identified for this prediction model.

The MoU is also aimed at using digital tools that have the potential to deliver cutting edge innovations and artificial intelligence to help farmers get higher crop yields in the state.